European Space Agency (ESA) is all set to land Mars rover on the red planet soon. The lander named Schiaparelli has left its mothership on October 16 after completing a seven-month journey that started from Earth. ESA recently crashed the Rosetta spacecraft on an asteroid, however, landing on Mars is a bit different as they want the rover to land safely and survive for future research.
ESA has partnered with Russian space agency Roscomos for the mission. It is to be noticed that ESA has no past track record of landing a rover on Mars successfully. It will be second attempt of ESA to land a rover on Mars after a failed mission by Britain’s Beagle 2 in 2003.
Season of storms is about to start which can damage the lander and NASA recently issued warning that this year Mars might witness another global storm where the entire planet gets covered under dust storm.
While talking about the Schiaparelli lander, it is a disk-shaped rover weighing 577 kilograms. It left its mother spacecraft named Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) at 14: 42 GMT on October 16. It will land on the red planet on October 19 after completing a three-day journey. It will use a parachute and thrusters to slow its descent from a speed of nearly 21,000 kilometres per hour before touching down on the planet’s surface. Meanwhile, TGO will orbit Mars and observe the atmospheric composition.
Recently, Mars exploration has gained momentum and scientists are looking forward to setup a human colony on Mars. US president Barack Obama has also pledged to send people to the planet by 2030. Several countries are taking part in Mars exploration. In fact, private space agencies like SpaceX is developing a very large space capsule to send a large number of people to the red planet at once and first crew is scheduled to launch by 2024.
NASA is also planning to send humans on Journey to Mars in early 2020s. The American space agency has made a Mars simulator so that astronauts can adjust on Mars with ease.
Moreover, ESA revealed that they are aiming to land Schiaparelli on a smooth plain known as Meridiani Planum. ESA has spent about 1.3 billion euros for the mission ExoMars. Second part of the mission will start in 2020.